How crucial is last mile fulfillment to 7-Eleven and the c-store channel?
A new study finds that 57 percent of all convenience retailers offer some form of last mile fulfillment and, when done correctly, it can pay off for stores in significant ways.
The study from NACS Research — “NACS Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail” — includes findings gleaned from 140 independent and chain operators, representing single-store operators to businesses with over 500 locations.
NACS definition of last mile fulfillment includes delivery orders as well as forms of pickup (curbside, in-store and lockers).
“Our findings show convenience retailers are employing a wide range of last mile fulfillment options with some being more popular than others,” said Lori Stillman, vice president of research at NACS, in a statement. “We also found that one third-party provider is being leveraged more so than others, while many locations are using their own staff for delivery.”
The trade association said suppliers have a role to play in helping retailers understand the value of looking beyond the four walls of their stores.
“There is an opportunity for suppliers to educate retailers on how last mile fulfillment can more effectively match products to changing consumer behaviors — like those that will have a lasting impact because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ms. Stillman. “Additionally, third-party last mile service providers will see how the convenience landscape differs from other delivery and gain a better understanding of how QSR delivery both differs and compares to convenience retail.”
One retailer that has been aggressive in its pursuit of last mile fulfillment is 7-Eleven. The convenience store giant announced yesterday that it has added UberEats, Grubhub and Instacart as firms making deliveries for company-owned and franchised locations.
“When 7-Eleven began offering delivery in 2017, we certainly didn’t foresee a pandemic accelerating on-demand ordering platforms from convenient to essential,” said 7-Eleven COO Chris Tanco. “This year we’ve doubled our delivery footprint and quadrupled our daily delivery orders because customers know they can count on us for their necessities in about 30 minutes.”
Customers can order directly from local 7-Eleven stores using its 7Now delivery app or through any of the platforms that handle delivery for the chain. These include DoorDash, Favor in Texas, Google and Postmates, in addition to the three newly added services.
- New NACS Research Reveals Last Mile Opportunities – NACS
- More Ways to Get 7-Eleven Products Delivered, Coming Right Up – 7 Eleven, Inc./PRNewswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important is last mile fulfillment to the evolution of convenience stores? Where do you see the biggest opportunities and challenges facing convenience retailers implementing various forms of pickup and delivery services?